Leaves of Grass
Author: japancat
Content Rating: T-16
Published: 2012-07-09 17:33:36
Tags: Yu Yu Hakusho, Romance, Drama, Hiei, Mukuro, HieiMukuro



Summary:
On the evolution of desire. Or the one where touchy-feely stuff kind of doesn't happen the right way. (Of the HieiMukuro nature.)

Author´s Notes and Disclaimers:
I'm no merchant. This is actually a long one shot, but I only have the first part of it here. I've still got more to get completed and I'm on twenty pages front and back. This was actually originally written as a coping mechanism for the things my therapist and psychiatrist won't discuss.
Chapter 1
First Chapter


On the evolution of desire.

"I sing the body electric." –Walt Whitman

They say that succubi don't exist; that they are the things of legend. Urban myth. You tell a friend you meet one or an incubus- assuming that they aren't both simultaneously- and they would tell you something along the lines of how they made out with the Kuchisake- Onna out there on the Rainbow Bridge, or Rainbow Mountain. Whatever the hell it is they call it these days. There are enchantresses and prostitutes and those who you wish were so you can get what you wanted easy. But a woman (or some kind of hermaphrodite that can shift between man and woman, as some believe it) who sleeps with men to such out their life energy through their cum to survive, well, that, gentlemen, is what we call a wet dream, and frankly you've had enough those to last a lifetime.

In short- sex with a succubus, though some poor sick fuck out there might think it's worth it, is poisonous. They aren't real anyway.

Thank god they aren't real.

Or maybe not. "Maybe the world would be a better place with them in the world," Mukuro mused back in the day with it was all point and blame, scoffing, and rolling eyes at the PDAs they came across in their daily lives. "People would start to think twice before they do what they do. In fact, you'd be surprised at how much could change potentially. Power and sex are two of the main drives when you come right down to it and they're not any further than two sides of a paper. Power usually comes with sex and sex usually comes with power. That's not an absolute, of course, and I know it's a heavy generalization before you call me out on it." Since it was still a flesh wound in those days, her eyes glazed over in the way that it does when the memories rush in. She curled so slightly and clenched her fists in between her legs so he wouldn't see what she was doing. "But take it from me- I know."

But the moment after, it was like poison. They say it's natural; that he should fall asleep sometime after the fact- some kind of biological mechanism having to do with chemicals or something. (Those who know the answer tend to be the types who want everyone to know why men have nipples. Seeing how Hiei was not one of those so-called geniuses, he just didn't give a flying fuck.) Is it natural to feel drained, that you gave more than what you think you did? And the kicker was the morning after where it felt like a pain in the ass just to roll over, to feel like you need a caffeine injection just to think about getting out of bed, she was pumped up full of energy. Lifting him up from under his armpits into a slumping position, holding him so he sits properly instead of his usual slouch- which he never did in his life until now, now that he thought about it- so her bare body would be pressed against his back scars and all and if he wasn't so damn worn out he would have found it in himself to get aroused. But she'd be ready to kill a thousand of whatever comes her way and could probably lift him with one hand. If she juggled him, he wouldn't be surprised in the least. But no, she sighed as she was pressed against his back, chin resting on one of his shoulder, eyes shut, arms wrapped around his shoulders or as it was in the last few times, hands resting not so awkwardly in his lap. And she'd nurse him with her body heat, rocking him back and forth with her and sometimes humming some pseudo-lullaby (which didn't help in the least), and when she felt she'd done all she could, she'd kiss him in that spot between his eye and ear. She'd let him go so she could get dressed and he'd just fall over unable to comprehend what it was like to feel refreshed in the morning. Because all of his memories were lies at that point.

Sweet as it was, it was like poison.

Like sleeping with a succubus.

It's not as though the thought never crossed her mind since she had to shrug every time the census bureau badgered her to put a real answer when it asked for her race instead of her "HELL IF I KNOW," which warranted her to write in all caps, apparently. As big as possible. Just because the United Kingdom of Demon World could never survive if Mukuro didn't list what the hell she was. When the thought crossed her mind, she tried to ignore it, just so she could accusations of hatching urban legends and conspiracy theories ("I made out with the Kuchisake-onna and she likes it from behind.") but also not like some blushing schoolgirl, trying to act as thought it didn't happen by drawing more attention to it. Changing her answer to "HELL IF I KNOW BUT IT'S NOT A SUCCUBUS" (and in Hiei's handwriting- "so suck it"). As if that narrowed anything down. That improbable bullshit.

But still, not long after coming Chikou collapsed on her more often than not- all three hundred plus pounds of him piled on top of a girl not even fifty pounds soaking wet. She'd sit there, imagining what it would be like to suffocate and in the back of her mind wishing she would, conflicting with survival instincts, until several women had to roll him and lift him to bed so he could sleep some more. Not with them. Real sleep. And the women would look at her, sometimes thankful that their size forty-two holes could rest for a day or two. The record was a month. Maybe that's why, even though she was his favorite (because of blood, because he paid good money to engineer her the way she is, because all the women in his possession were his favorites), he only ever touched her on her birthday, or when he wanted a change of pace before she matured like the others- and that took at least six months to happen. Otherwise he made her watch when he was with another woman, or when he was doing it to himself, or make her watch with him as other women had sex, or watch her do things to another woman or vice versa.

And he never did pass out in the other cases like he did with her.

Or maybe he engineered the only real succubus.

Succubus or not, she was still sitting on his chest, leaning over to pluck out the leaves of grass from his hair. Hiei wasn't sure how they got in this position- if it was she was perfecting his slopping fist fighting skills or if he fell and she decided to menace him in her own way or if the whole thing happened to be god forbid, spontaneous. Either way, it's as close to any sort of public display of affection as they'll go- when no one's around to look, of course. It seemed as though they had been here in the position forever, him lazily watching her hands as they grasped the leaves and tears them in halves, quarters, eighths, sixteenths, until it couldn't be shredded anymore. And there was the fluid motion of her sweeping the scraps off her legs, his neck, his face. Her eyes would meet his just for a moment before picking up again.

There was another pause. He watched her head turn and listened to her hand sift through the grass. She returned with a rock, still small enough for her to wrap her overgrown fist around. She held it between his legs, her lips curling in anticipation for the drop.

"If you drop that, I'll kill you," Hiei said.

She held his arms down, her expression not changing. "Try stopping me now. I know all your moves, Hiei."

"I'll kick you, then."

"What lack in flexibility, you make up for with your brute strength. You and I know that perfectly well." To prove her point for the here and now, she grabbed his hand so her index finger was placed below his thumb and her thumb below his pinky finger and twisted his hand so his palm was turned in the direction of his face. At the slightest twist he cringed. "It's not as though I would beat your face in with that rock anyway. Just a light drop, unless you're prone to nosebleeds- which you're not." Just a little pinch. Nothing to make you howl in pain.

Like those shots they shoved in the middle of his hand. When was that again? "Are you five years old?"

"No." She released his hand, giving it a slight massage as if that would help the pain- except it made it worse. Or maybe that was the point. "No, if I was five years old-" she ran her hands through his hair and paused when she found the prize "-I would do this." She yanked at a hair in his scalp. "Looks like I've struck gold, I found a silver one." And she tickled his nose with the hair. "A bit too soon to be getting these, don't you think? I haven't even gotten mine, yet."

"No, you just don't notice because your hair is so damn light."

"Well, I suppose if having a grey really disturbs you so much you don't have to worry so much about frown lines so you can do that as much as you want. You're doing a pretty good job of it right now. Or maybe your Jagan would just get covered over with those things." She paused and chuckled a bit. "I wish I could be there to see it."

He shifted under her and she slid down so she sat on his stomach. He craned his neck to look at her. "What, is that some kind of proposal?"

"Proposal of what?"

"Proposal of anything."

"Oh yes, Hiei, I absolutely adore you and think we should get married right this moment and screw the fact that there's so much to plan in that sort of pointless ceremony. Hence we will bear numerous heirs to a nonexistent throne and die together hopefully by double suicide by you jumping into my grave or burning yourself with me- however I choose to die- so you can accompany me into the afterlife. I personally hope for getting eaten by some giant beetle or the demon centipede." She didn't imply that he would be the first to go. That was their unspoken agreement- that she would be the one that dies first and that he would move on without her.

Because she's old.

The second half was expecting he would leave because he couldn't be with her, be in a relationship with this one person all his life- or her life, rather.

Because she's old and he's young.

It occurred to him once, no, more than once but not frequently enough to ruin it, that he was in bed with a woman that predates his grandmother. ("Does she tell you to slow down when you fuck her because you'll hurt her hip? Do her tits sag?") She occasionally lapsed into archaic words that she claimed was somewhat trendy some two hundred years ago, along with how fun it is to think of the arguments she had with Yomi and Raizen. (So mine grandmother sayest.) She thought his confusion was hilarious- like she did with most things.

He liked sex with older women, that's what some say, anyway. That's why when a woman approaches him in the bar or on the street- wherever he may be-he turns them down. Not because he doesn't want to deal with power hungry whores. Not because he doesn't want to deal with those drunk women in the bars. Not even because he refuses to sleep around like that. Oh no, it's because those women that offer themselves to him are way too young and those old ladies just drive him crazy. He's got himself a nasty fetish, getting boners from hags.

Mukuro needs to stop robbing the cradle and Hiei needs to stop jumping in graves. He just wants a lover and a mother simultaneously- I mean he couldn't be any more obvious than this. He wants someone to whack him off and then feed him. Suck him dry and then wipe his ass, change his diaper. Make him come, bottle-feed him. That's what they say. Most of them. It's like he's wine tasting. Swish her around in his mouth and then spit her out and walk away when you're done. And because she had to hold off men all of her reign, she just hopped in bed with the first guy who took interest in her and him being the poor virginal and inexperienced person, he was chained to her side. Once he has his first, he's gonna have trouble letting that go. Poor fucker doesn't know what he's missing.

And so on just about them fucking.

Because that's all that matters.

She had told him once, in some offhand way to convince you to think, Oh those poor damn fools, about some women-married women she was sure- would point to her and say, "Oh I so glad that you found true love." You know, since married people, especially the older women with faced cracked my crow's feet and laugh lines horribly hidden by layers of foundation and fingers thickened by oversized gaudy children's playtime jewelry…. with a side of their wedding ring somewhere in there. The married women that seemed to think love was the answer to everything.

But she still foolishly took the bait, she said, having been caught more by surprise. And the biggest one by mass out of their little gaggle said, "Well, honey," like she was Mukuro's mother, "I don't mean to be rude but your face- those scars! You poor, poor thing, I can't imagine the horrible person who did that to you. You have such a lovely face, and it's such a tragedy that it's, well, ruined by those scars. But I'm so glad that man can see passed them. That means he really loves you. You got a real catch." Because it's beauty and the beast now. Guess which one Mukuro is.

The woman begged to know the story of her scars, probably just trying to wheedle it out of her to have something to bring back to some neo-feminist tea party. Something in her made her want to tell the truth but somehow it felt too wrong- like she was being asked to strip in public. That damn imp named Perversity. She told that stupid woman, "Birds ate my face." And she smiled.

"And then what happened?" Hiei asked at that point.

She was laying on her back, fiddling with one of the hairs that she was examine close enough to watch the split ends spinning between the twisting motions of her fingers. "They asked me to drink with them."

"Did you?'

"I came home, didn't I?" Her eyes never left that split end. "I told them it was against my religion."

"What the hell kind of religion is that?"

"Most of them, though people like to think it's not true. A godless heathen like you would never understand even with a substantial amount of evidence…" The pagan semi-believer (so she claims) paused. "I had to tell them something in any case. I can't stand alcohol. Even the thought of it. The smell, the taste as I imagine it, hell, even the look of it. And you still have the gall to wonder why I don't want you in the room when you…"

"You can't let two people go by themselves. Three people have to do it together. That's the way it is," he replied quickly.

"Then tell another person to go with them. You don't have to go."

"It doesn't matter. I've been doing it off and on since I was six anyway. People think I'm a lightweight but I can hold my alcohol well. I stop once I start getting a buzz and that's all."

"So you could forget?"

"If that was the case, I would invite you too. Even if it can't work that perfectly."

"I just told you that I hate alcohol and I would have thought you weren't too dense to figure that out already. I don't want to be like that bastard."

"You don't have to in any way. I'm not telling you that you have to do it either. But you need to stop worrying all the damn time about whatever you're doing making you turn into your goddamn father. You're nothing like him."

There was a long pause, and Hiei shifted uncomfortably in his chair, wondering if he went a little too far- even if he thought she needed to remove her head from that poor abused orfice. Mukuro plucked out the hair and dropped it unceremoniously onto the ground. She sat up, her legs spread in their masculine way, elbows resting on their thighs and hands drooping between her knees. She looked at him for a moment, and then stared at the ground with eyes wide in hysteria. "You know…" She started to trip over her words. "I still can't stand people with blue eyes. I would rip mine out but I'd always know those bastard blue eyes were in those sockets. I smash mirrors and pictures when I see them. Most of my victims were blue eyed. Or fat. Or balding. Lecherous. Polygamists. I caught a glimpse and all I saw was him and that is why I have to destroy him and then destroy myself for even looking like that bastard, having that bastard's blood running through my veins, knowing that the scars I have came from him, that his hands were ever on me… And most of all, babies. Laughing babies. I'd strangle them. Or rip out their throats. Something to shut them up. I have never really laughed in my entire life. All those times it sounded like I did, it was all fakery, you know that? Just so I wouldn't hear him in me."

Hiei shifted in his chair, and tried not to eye the bed, trying not to admit he wished she would offer him that spot so he could be near her, not at the point of being beneath her skin- not at that time. His expression didn't change as he briefly remembered having committed similar acts as a child after taking a lesson from the bandits who dealt with him decided to make him act the part as a lost child or sad, starving little orphan. The poor sick fuck who took the bait, either for sexual purposes or because they get just as much of an erection out of helping the needy, would be led into a dark corner to be slaughter. In the end they would always look up at Hiei, eyes wide like a cattle after its throat slit, aimlessly waving their arms around, trying to scream. He liked to think of it like watching a chicken with its head cut off. In the end it was a child holding a magnifying glass over a line of unsuspecting ants.

Mukuro went on, "You ever think you're a victim, too? That one day when you're passed out on your chair that I'll blow you to bits or wake up with me in the midst of torturing you until death do us part?"

Hiei raised a hand and bit down on the cuticle of his thumb, unconsciously knowing damn well that he bit his nail down to where it bled and hurt. Thoughtlessly. A habit from god knows how long ago. "If that's the case…" He removed his hand and rested it with the other in his lap, swallowing the bits of dead skin and blood, not remotely enjoying the taste and feel of it down his throat. "What am I? An alcoholic? Lecherous?"

"….Because you are me and I am you."

"That doesn't make any damn sense."

"That we're alike in more ways than you would think possible." Her eyes still wide, she looked up. That same look of the men as their throats were slit. The look of a cow in its last moments. The pleading look trying to accept their demise, her attempt to live passed the darkness that lurked in her mind. Her hands clenched and unclenched knuckle by knuckle and then unclenching in the same reluctant pace. "You ever see yourself in your victim's eyes just before you make the kill? I don't just mean figuratively, either. You actually see yourself reflected in their eyes. Like a damn mirror. But that's why it happens the way it does. That's why I tried never to look at their eyes when I killed them…. and why I never look in mirrors, among other reasons, obviously." Like having blue eyes.

"If that's the case, then I would have died, wouldn't I?"

She looked away and snorted like a man, shaking up the mucus in her sinuses. She stood up and started pacing back and forth, occasionally changing the position of her arms between having her hands laced behind her back and having her hands hanging awkwardly in front of her more times than necessary and enough times that Hiei had to look away and discreetly try to keep her out of his sight to keep himself from getting a headache. (Or he could always get one in the name of… well.) She faltered in her pacing for a moment as she asked, "Do you… Do you believe in love?" Her voice sounded as though she was struggling to breathe.

Or struggling to keep her sanity. The floodgates of her hysteria were beginning to become overloaded and he could feel it in the air.

"What the hell kind of question is that and what the hell does that have to do with anything? Besides that we've already had this conversation before. That we've been doing the things we do because of it. or the lack of it, anyway." The irritable sigh he held in his lungs was bloating his insides, tearing away. He was starting to suffocate at her expense.

"Do you love me?" With her slit throat cow's eyes still lingering in his general direction, her lips curled into some sort of sneer, her voice turning towards a child's mocking tune. She grabbed at the top of the chair directly in front of Hiei, her fingers strumming knuckle by knuckle, taking turns clawing at it. If her nails weren't so short, he wouldn't have been surprised if she tore the material.

"Do you? The other way around?"

"Why, would the answer change if I said no? If I said yes, would that make you love me?"

"Do you want me to?"

"Do you?"

"You should know the answer by now."

"Circumvention, circumvention, circumvention…" She paused, her clawing gaining speed and power, leaving a scraping sound on the chair. He looked down at her fingers and saw they were starting to turn pink. She then asked without changing her expression or tone. "So you mean to tell me… So you love me enough to hope that you'll fuck me?"

She's not in her right mind, she's not in her right mind, she's not in her right mind…. Don't let her fool you, I won't let her fool me. I won't catch her disease… But still he choked. "What the hell?"

Her voice took a false sweet tone. "Do you want to even though you'll get my Chlamydia?"

Hiei wondered stupidly if there was some sort of gas leak or if he was unintentionally drugged on his way here or if he was dreaming. But as she reached for the glass cup she had sitting on the table ("Just so I can feel as though someone lives in this damn room," she explained at one point. God knows how long ago that was.) and started to walk across the room with it in her hand, the feeling of foreboding overcame him assured him that this was reality. He gave himself another mental slap in the face. He couldn't find the right words. What the hell do you say to something like that? Does she want me to give her a BS sob story? "You- don't… You don't… have…" Shit.

"Yes I do. You know I do. All whores are infected with something."

"Get yourself tested then. You said yourself tha-" She flung the glass at him and purposely missed. "What the hell? Don't you start throw-"

"You know what else I have?" She was at the shelf in the corner of the room, also covered with glass that was supposed to make the room look lived in. Her little menagerie of glass, vases, and statues slapped together erratically. Her goddamn precious collection of piece of shit glass… She had them in her hands. Her empty bottles, some dusty cups she probably saved from an exile in a trashcan, fragments of mirrors and plates, and some other pieces of her useless shit that happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time- all of them flung into the wall, each cursed with a different venereal disease- herpes, syphilis, genital warts, hepatitis… Part of the way through, Hiei walked out, trying not to be seen though he knew Mukuro was still too trapped in her manic trance to take any notice. He came back with a box and waited by the door, out of range of any shrapnel, for her to stop. She flung the last piece of shit glass in her collection, which was in the shape of some abstract swirling pattern that was supposed to be poetic or maybe it was just so undesired by everyone that Mukuro couldn't help but want to take it home. And when she saw what she had done, she walked to her STD cursed shards of glass and laid back in it, beating her left arm into it mindlessly.

He dragged the box over to her and he grabbed her arm before she could slam it into her work again. "Enough."

"You're still here?"

"The hell? You stupid? You know the answer to that. It's obvious."

"I'm beyond scars now, Hiei. Look, the cuts on my arm have already healed." He hesitated, unsure of whether or not to touch her. When Mukuro started to wave her curled hand under his nose, Hiei sighed and grabbed her arm, turned it over, and watched as the wounds slowly closed up until it was nothing more than just a blood stain on her skin and sleeve.

"You know that why I say it's time you stop doing this." He picked up the shards with his bare hands, knowing that he, too, was beyond the point of scars and that his cuts would close up immediately before the blood could make his hands sticky. Somehow he found himself missing having to deal with the arbitrary pain of paper cuts and the like. I'm going insane, too. What the hell. "Get up." Hiei paused and shook his head at his gruff tone. He repeated himself, trying to avoid that tone, but he knew that only made him sound fake. How do people sound so sickingly sweet so easily?

Mukuro pushed herself up off the floor and walked to the bed, where she lay on her stomach, head turned to watch him as he picked up the shards. At the sound of the last shard dropping into the box, she folded her arms in front of her and put her face flat on the bed in the center of her arms. She didn't flinch, didn't look up at him as he approached her with the box, knowing what was coming and unsure if she was willing to accept his touch a second time so soon. He reached out, hesitating for a moment before pulling out the first shard embedded in her back, near her right shoulder. It wasn't a particularly large piece- just the size of Hiei's thumbnail more or less if there had to be some sort of estimate. It was just enough for him to pinch between his nails which were cut down just above the chewed down cuticle. He paused another moment to watch her skin close, and she shut her eyes tighter at the discomfort of the raw sensation. Mukuro started to chew on her lip, wishing to gather up the gall to tell him to stop and let her do it herself. He made it to the last piece after what seemed like hours of discomfort. She knew he was hovering over her, waiting for her to acknowledge the end of the ordeal. She didn't let him have this one.

"You want me to replace any of this?" Hiei was one step away from dropping the word "shit" at the end.

"I wasn't in my right mind when I got most of it, anyway. I saw some of it the day after I took it and really believed someone else put that there. I really wanted to break all of that so really I just did myself a favor and you did the second one by cleaning up that mess." There was a long pause and she rolled on her side so her back was to him. "You can sit here. I don't give a damn anymore."

"I don't want to." He looked over his shoulder at the wall. "I'm going to go. I know where I'm not wanted."

"You only say that because you want to stay. But you want me to beg you to stay but don't know how to ask."

"Do you want me to stay then?"

"You know the answer to that."

"Do you?"

"You? I shouldn't have to tell you."

"Then neither should I."

There was another long silence. He stayed glued where he was, shifting weight on his feet, not wanting to go or stay- nor did his feet know the answer any better than he did. Hiei's eyes left the wall and down to Mukuro. Her face was turned towards him with her eyelids half closed. She mouthed the word "sit." It wasn't until she repeated it in a voice just about a whisper he followed through and sat at the foot of the bed, near her feet. She rolled over on her back and then sat up. He could feel that she was staring at him, and he turned to her, not wanting to break the stare down once it started, though the hold clenched at his chest.

"I wasn't lying. About the Chlamydia, I mean. I'd had it a few times among other things- all of which have been treated. He would regularly test us all to make sure we were clean before going on. Every single time there was a report of some outbreak, he would have us all tested and fixed. I never understood it at the time. The discharge or the wilts or the stinging. Every time I would touch it or pick at it until it bled, trying to figure it out. I have scars from picking at the welts and bites. I was seven years old and I had a basic understanding of sex but not the darker parts of it- STDs and watching people giving them to each other. They usually got them from his servants. I don't know if the servants got to have some of the women some days, though I remember one being shot for being caught with one of the others. But… Not even seven and having gonorrhea and crabs. They've cured me but even still I can't get out the feeling of sickness or filthiness. Once you've had something like that you can be cured you are never the same again. You'll always know that it was there," she explained, not looking away from him or changing expression.

He stood up and sighed. "Look… You know, you're only infected as long as you want to be." He took another step and looked over his shoulder. "There's a time to grieve and a time to let it go. I'm not telling you to get away from this shit tomorrow but at least take a step forward. It's done. You aren't and I'm not but what's done is done. How long will it take you to get yourself away from all those years ago?" Another step. "I don't know a damn thing about this kind of stuff but I would have gotten over the disease a long time ago. Don't be wea- Don't let it win over your being. Just give me that."

"Why you?"

He shrugged. "The answer hasn't changed."

)()()(

As he felt the weight on his stomach lifting, Hiei became aware that Mukuro was standing up. She paused before she stepped over him, probably weighing the amount of amusement she'd get from kicking him on the side of the face as she did so. She sat about an inch away from his side so her leg brushed against his outstretched arm at every breath she took, basking in the warmth from his touch, enjoying the knowledge that he was there- just as they did when they slept back to back. There was a flash of lightning in the sky and Mukuro glanced at him, waiting for him to react as he always had. He turned his sleepy gaze to her for just a moment, thinking back to that one night…

He was walking through the halls. He guessed it had to be around midnight and most people were asleep, and those insomniacs among them would most likely remain in their rooms. Maybe there were one or two wandering the halls, but they were harder to come by and knew how to mind their own damn business should they let the other person know they're walking in the same hallway. At the next sound of thunder, he sighed and stuffed his hands in his pockets. Just as he heard the sound of a door opening, he walked right into Mukuro as she stepped out.

"What the hell do you think you're doing?" Hiei growled.

"What about you?" He refused to answer, and she shrugged. She probably rolled her eyes, but to keep from wanting to smack her, he tried not to imagine that. "I'm a light sleeper- you should know that, the number of times you woke me up from a perfectly good nap- and so thunder storms keep me up. I usually do some sort of night patrol on sleepless nights like this. And then I try and enjoy myself a bit so I can relax." She let that sink in for a little bit, just so he can purify any dark thoughts relating to her statement about relaxation, before she went on. "Now you have to give me your side of the story."

"Same thing."

"You can sleep through a bloody atomic bomb." He refused to answer again. "Seeing as there are no goats or trucks flying around nor are we glowing a strange color, that means that there is no reason for you to be up."

"Look, I just can't sleep tonight and that's that. This conversation is over."

She shrugged, though he noticed the distinct lack of her condescending smile, which indicated that once again she saw right through his excuses. Goddamn this woman. How does she always do it? "Come with me then." As she reached to take his arm, he pulled back enough that only the tips of her fingers grazed him. Her expression didn't change or falter. "I won't force you. If you want to come with me, I would like that very much, but if not then that's your choice. Just tell me yes or no."

"I'm not wandering around the halls with you. I could have done that shut by myself."

She started to walk away, but stopped and did an about face. "You know something? Why don't you just come on in here then?" She opened the door and looked over her shoulder. "Don't just stand there with your mouth hanging open like an idiot. Go on." He sighed, knowing that he didn't really have a choice as she said. When he was in the room, she said, "Lay down."

"The hell?"

"Just do it."

He sighed and did as she said, anticipating the sensation of the bed drooping under the pressure as she gets in bed with him, and moreover, trying to suppress that feeling. He rolled over on his side and foolishly shut his eyes so he couldn't see it coming- or not coming at all. He folded himself into as tight as a ball as he could manage, starting to wonder why she was taking such a damn long time to lay down. Not that he was complaining; in fact., he wasn't sure what he would have done if she got in bed with him at that moment. Apparently, it was finally a good thing he wasn't prone to nosebleeds- not that it ever mattered before.

"You're really trying too hard," Mukuro said, a hint of laughter in her voice. Hiei rolled over and saw her resting his chin at the foot of the bed, her usual damn condescending smile on her face. But more importantly, she was sitting on the floor.

"Mukuro- what the hell are you doing?" Hiei asked.

"Laying on the floor. Some people are comforted by that sort of thing, I guess."

"Are you saying I'm a child or a pervert?" Thunder roared. He looked to the ceiling, then rubbed a temple.

"Considering that you happen to fear thunder…"

"I do not."

"In any case, it's what's keeping you up tonight. We can't have that- though this doesn't seem to be your cup of tea so I'm not sure what to do for you."

"I've had plenty of sleepless nights before. This is no different and there's nothing you can do for me. Period."

"Explains a lot, actually." She stood up, stared at the foot of the bed, and sat down slowly with her back to him. She glanced at him, then turned around and rested her head on her hands. "So what do you think about when you hear it? Was it…?"

"I don't think shit. What is it with you and insisting that everything has to do with the past? It doesn't. The past is the past and you need to get your head out of its ass. The thunder keeps me up at night. Shut up."

"But it does bother you."

"Because it's loud as fuck."

"But you have nightmares. I know."

The color drained from him face. She what? "I always do."

"You're lying. Obviously. Do we need to have this talk again?"

"Look, woman. It is what it is, so shut it. No matter what psychological theory you pull from your ass is gonna make this change. Quit wanking yourself into thinking that every single problem stems from last year or the year before that. I can't sleep because the thunder's too damn loud, not because I heard some animal scream when I was a child." He stood up. "I'm leaving. You can do your midnight patrol or whatever it is you call it by yourself."

"Wait..."

"Wait yourself."

"…come to the roof with me." Just as he turned around to remind her that she was out of her mind and he wasn't willing to deal with her shit right now, he saw she was on her feet. I'm not letting her win this one. I'm going to go anyway. "You're never enjoyed a good night sky. Not unless you watch it in a storm." He rolled his eyes at her. "But of course, you don't have to, though as I've said before, I would like it very much if you do. Just do what you want and let death be the only thing that you were ever forced to do, that's fine with me. But you can come with me and… think." Like a little boy, she stuck her hands in her pockets and looked away.

"Think. You think that I'd want to spend a sleepless night thinking? What next? You're going to tell me that if I go up there I'm going to see the meaning of life?" His eyelids drooped. She didn't answer. She just walked out without stopping to make sure that he was following her. Damn her. She thinks she can just… He groaned and rubbed his temples again. Deciding that he would go over to her and beat some sense into her, he went to the roof and stopped, the sudden bombardment of icy raindrops stopping him in his tracks. When he was used to the drops, he saw Mukuro sitting hands between her knees as she habitually did- like a dog. She cocked her head to the side, recognizing his presence and bracing herself to stand against his assault.

He lost his nerve. He sat down cross-legged next to her, letting the awkwardness drift in the air. He turned to her and watched a raindrop roll off a strand of hair and down her cheek… "Aren't you cold?"

"I thought you said you didn't want to come here and you were pretty hell-bent on it," Mukuro replied, not even looking at him.

"What, are you mad? I could still smack you for this."

"Because it's a thundershower, which, of course, I plotted in order to make you spend the night looking at the sky with me. I'm glad you think I'm that great a magician." She shook her head. "No, you really didn't need to come. Don't feel so obligated to do so."

"Look, there's nothing else I had to do so I…" She turned to him, pushing the now dark brown strands of hair off out of her eyes. He tried not to look at her clothes, knowing that they would be sticking to the crevices of her body. She didn't need that. It's too soon and she'd had enough of those men ("she has such a fine tight looking ass and those nice tits I'd fuck her all night if she'd let me who gives a fuck if she's all wrinkled down there I want to so badly I") who come forward to eye her like she was a piece of meat. He isn't one of them. It isn't him, damn it. "So you… So… The night sky… I mean… This is your night sky?"

"Hiei, why are you even worrying? You didn't want to see this damn sky anyway." Holding out her hand to catch the raindrops, she gave him a brief stare telling him to sit down and shut up. Her stare softened as the droplets overflowed. She turned her palm to him and motioned for him to open his hand for her to drop her collection. "They say… Or I've heard people tell their children that raindrops are the tears of angels. It used to comfort me and I'd try to catch them, hoping in some way they'd give me a blessing. They never did but for some reason I liked the thought of it, that someone cared about me. Angels are lies anyway. We all know about the afterlife, but what do these people do? Wait for you to die the right way? They don't do a thing. Just a damn good luck charm in your pocket and a kiss on your cheek before bed." She paused and heaved out a sigh. "I never did care for snow. It is pain."

She didn't say anything more. He rolled his eyes, knowing she was waiting for a response. After a pause, "…Snow is a bitch."

"You know, we could always stay in these parts in the winter. Statistically speaking, it wouldn't matter much where we end up. Humans haven't come into this world during the winter. I guess not even they like to travel in the snow. Or maybe their bodies just get caught in the storm." She shrugged. "I don't want to leave here. It doesn't snow here."

"Humans aren't different from us. From what I've seen. Just stupider and frailer."

"With all due respect they don't live long enough to learn anything worthwhile." He gave a half assed half nod. She looked at the sky, taking in the drops of rain, ignoring the roll of thunder. "But it's amazing… isn't it? Even through their frailty and ignorance, they sill had the power to a king to his knees and turn him into nothing more than just a man, and finally converted him into an idiot. All less than a year."

"So you never forgave humans for showing you how weak we are?"

"No. Humans are good. With an associated variety of spices and having been boiled for twenty minutes." He glanced at her face, hearing the clear tones of a joke, but her face was still straight. Damn her. "I never did blame humans for Raizen's death. I always thought he was a fool and that it is was his own damn fault for letting a woman do that to him."

"Just a woman. Just one?"

"You didn't know? Didn't even guess? You're that slow?" He growled under his breath to which she only rolled her eyes. "It didn't take Yusuke Urameshi for me to figure it out. I know from the start that's why there was a sudden change in his policy. I knew he loved a human woman but didn't suspect he took it to the point where he fathered a child. I thought it was just some guilt over thinking whether it was her or someone she cared about on his plate. How selfish." She turned to him, cocking her brows, waiting for him to make a snide comment as usual. None came. Hiei knew it was enough. Let the rain mock her in its uneven rhythms on the roof. And let the rain sing a song of sorrow brought by the despot's demise. "It washes everything away." Before she could say more she sneezed, and when she knew he wouldn't say it for her she said, "Bless you- bless you- bless you, thank you- thank you- thank you."

Why do you need a reward for sneezing anyway? "Are you catching a cold now?"

"It's not the end of the world if I am and you know it. Just a lack of energy and nasal problems for a day- if that. Too bad and you thought that giving some BS excuse like taking care of me would get you out of work." And goddamn her- still straight faced.

He grabbed her hand. "You're cold." And he dropped it when he realized what he had done.

"Of course it's cold." She held up her hand, knowing that the rain made her white sleeve a step away from transparency- enough to show the metal and wires beneath. "This is my right arm. The so called fake."

He crawled behind her on his knees, thinking to himself, he might as well try a sneak attack. Give some closure. He took her by the shoulders and pressed hr against him. For a moment she tried to pull away, but stopped. He said, "You're still cold." It was silent again except for the rain singing of fools once more.

"Idiot." He heard the faint sound of an S tacked on. "Kills kings, starts wars, ends empires, and makes warriors into idiots. Idiots… Idiots… Idiots…"

"They say ignorance is bliss." And he fell into it. "It really does."

)()()(

"All those years you been with her and you've never-? Come on and man up already and pop your damn hymen! It's time!"

Hiei looked up from his glass at a gaggle of drunk men around a flustered on before he a one eighty turn to fake it out. Shigure was still complaining to Kirin who wished he was drunk enough to give a flying fuck. Some woman that looked a shade of lipstick and nail polish away from being a prostitute approached him and vomited some half baked pick up line having to do with his strength or some shit about how he compensated for his height. He stood up, paid his tab without having touched his drink and threw the two guys a curt goodbye and some BS that he was feeling sick. He was still focused on that flushed man to notice Kirin was silently hoping for some back up, knowing he'd get bitched at by two people now, and he was still too sober to take any more.

The flushed man said with weak fervor, "Okay, I'm gonna do it! I'm gonna bone my girlfriend tonight." As Hiei walked out behind the flushed man, the gaggle chanted, "Pop that hymen! Pop that hymen!" until the barkeep told them to shut their drunk asses up before he shoots them.

Damn drunks.

He thought of it again… Mukuro would be pissed.

Not today. Anything but today.

)()()(

Another day, another problem. The second act in the heard of the married women's sessions.

Apparently Mukuro made the mistake of arranging another meeting with them, not out of pity, need for companionship, or curiosity, just because she let it slip that she didn't have anything keeping her busy at the proposed time. Considering what they were asking for, she couldn't have given some bullshit about it being against her religion. So they met at some crack at the bottom corner of the wall place and sat in an equally obscured area- not that the staff or the single person perched in her own corner, nose buried in their thousand page bodice ripper, gave a flying fuck who was around. The stumpy one who was obviously wearing a wig backwards like an old junkie gone drag queen with her two-tone hair showing at the nape of her neck also made it a point to tell the bored waitress that she was having tea with the former king, excuse me, Queen, of Demon World. "Imagine. A normal nobody like me having the same table space as a celebrity. Mother would be proud!"

Mukuro looked up long enough to see the waitress on the verge of asking why she should care. As the two-tone masturbated herself into orgasm over being in the same room as Mukuro, once again the leader of the pack rounded on her again- about the story of the scars- only to receive the same answer.

The one that gave off an obsessive air, especially how she had her cut in a suspiciously similar fashion as Mukuro's, asked, "I have to ask you- your time playing the part of a man was admirable, but I wonder if you've ever thought of touching on your feminine side?"

Her heart started to race and she felt the blood pulsing through her body, a chill dropping from her gut to her bowels to her feet, freezing at each of her toes. "Explain."

"Well, this would be a golden opportunity to at least start wearing women's clothing. You can't tell completely but that belt you wear brings your clothes in so we know you have a small waist and nice hips so I have no doubt in my mind that you have an amazing figure. Why don't you emphasize that more?" The others started scanning Mukuro's body, and she knew they were dressing her and undressing her until they found a more suitable form. I thought these days were over. "Maybe try some makeup or jewelry. I bet he would like it, too."

The chill raced back to her face. "It's a habit. I've been doing this for such a long time that I wouldn't necessarily jump at the chance to do something like that. I also wouldn't look right with makeup. With- the scars." Damn it was painful to have to say that for their benefit. What the hell is with them and not taking no for an answer?

"You have such beautiful eyes and well defined lips. Your scars only make you prettier and if it's for him, he would see passed that."

You can't have depth and be shallow simultaneously. As she gave her a noncommittal shrug, it ran through her mind. What makes a woman? Does it really require all this glitz and begetting of children? Is it really black and white- the mother or the whore? Or the whore, the mother or the hag? Born to serve until worn out, born to serve everyone but you, or born to be alone and bitter?

The leader took an obnoxiously large gulp of her tea, knowing she could get everyone's attention. "So have you thought of…. No. Has he asked the question?"

"Why?" Mukuro quipped.

Not understanding the joke, she went on, "Well, Honey, he really ought to keep an eye to the future. He may be young but he knows what he wants and he should take it ASAP."

Marriage? Are they serious? She reminded herself of the behemoth she was facing after a moment's glance at the meteor she wore on her fat finger. People get married young and then they realize that their relationship wouldn't last a millennium, let alone a century, and most don't try to have kids because they don't have grandchildren before they even hit quadruple digits. Personally she didn't see the point in getting married in general. It's just the titles that come with it- even the thought that you could have legitimate children wasn't a real excuse. No one gives a damn about that anymore, and having lived a life as one, neither Hiei nor Mukuro would care any more than they. But…

"Or you could propose. How exciting. How many women have done that?" the clone said.

"But you two absolutely must have children. They are such darlings. I have five myself but the little chickies flew the nest so long ago. I cannot wait to have grandchildren of my own. I heard they're even better."

Personally, Mukuro wasn't fond of children and she knew Hiei just thought of them as little shits was glad as hell that both of them were far away from that. Still, she listened to the leader of the pack cluck on and on about her own children and even had the sickening nerve to give a full account of each of her five birth stories because everyone loves being reminded of how their nethers get split open by a person's head and shoulders as they chug down tea. The tab came several moments too late, except for the clone who insisted on following Mukuro until she acknowledged her presence.

"Y… You're an amazing person, you know that?" she finally asked when Mukuro paused for her. "I'm a journalist so I've been following your story since the Tournament for the world began and we all knew you were a woman. That was the moment I knew you were the person I was looking for- the ultimate role model for every woman that's felt put down or used or… or… I'm so sorry, I'm rambling. Well, the point is, I'm wondering about the true nature of your relationship with Hiei. I mean, the papers say so much different things I don't even know who I should take seriously. They don't all mesh together you see."

She didn't turn around, fearing she would vomit if she saw that face glimmering in the hope of hearing her most intimate details. She took a deep breath, releasing it with a slight hum. "I suppose that I'm flattered you think I'm such an- inspiring- person. But I'll tell you that when it comes to things like that, newspapers like to exaggerate to get a good story that would make it fly off the shelves. I know that too well… But I won't give any specifics towards what about our situation is blown up in the media. It's all my personal business and I frankly don't see why everyone has to make it his or her business. I don't see why anyone makes their private business public in general."

It was silent. The woman replied in a hushed voice, getting what she wanted when Mukuro had to lean back to hear her words, "Well, if he doesn't respond to you or if you find that you don't quite respond to him… Come talk to me. We can make it work."

Great.

…They never crossed paths again.

Just great.

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